Martin Bashir | November 27, 2012
>> now. ari melber is with me here in new york. he's a correspondent of "the nation." msnbc political analyst karen finney is former communications director at thed nc and professor michael eric dyson of georgetown university joins us. karen , the bloviating irnor ray muss may be changing his stripes. donald trump recently sat down for an interview and i can inform you he says republicans are going to have a hard time winning elections if they come across as, get this, mean-spirited toward people of color . treating voters with respect may seem as obvious to you and i as night follows day, but at least it's a start, isn't it?
>> i suppose it's a start.
>> give the man some credit.
>> why should -- this guy is supposed to be so smard and we should give him credit for stating the obvious? i don't think so. i think i'm going to continue to believe he's a bloviating og ignoramus we shouldn't be paying any attention to.
>> ari, as we come on air now for this segment, the president is actually meeting at this very moment for a photo opportunity with the president-elect of mexico . and mr. trump in the same article describes mitt romney 's immigration policy of self-deportation as, quote, crazy and maniarchial. does this suggest the white house is ready to do something substantive on immigration?
>> i think so, yes. to take the two pieces of your question, on trump there is a delicious irony because he is a hater, and he's saying we as a party should hate less and the first thing republicans must do is banish the haters like him from the leadership and the message apparatus.
>> karen wasn't really convinced by that.
>> i think we can give karen more credit than that. that's first thing. it's fine if he wants to give this message. as you said, it's obvious -- there's a lot of riff people who say things in the country. this guy was embraced by mitt romney for fund-raisers, for messaging, and they were even at one time talking about going to a debate sponsored by him. he was a kingmaker and they need to boot him out. that's number one. the dream act had a majority of support in both houses of congress. now we see with the new president in mexico and a lot of talk about issues on immigration and the drug war , this is the time for action, and the key is not getting a majority. the majority is in congress. the key is getting the republicans to stop filibustering immigration reform .
>> speaking of the war on drugs , professor, this also may be on the agenda at the white house and this most recent election saw two states vote to legalize marijuana. that raised a lot of eyebrows in mexico where police are battling drug traffickers or as one vendor told the dallas morning news, we've lost too many people, and americans want to legalize pot? what are we dying for? that's a fair question, isn't it, professor dyson?
>> it is a fair question. but the reality is the war on drugs as prosecuted in america has been a war on black and brown people . the war on drugs has not been to eradicate the basis of the war on drugs -- the basis of drug addiction which is the infusion in america, the infill ration tration of our borders with illicit drugs . it's been to crack down on those people who use a bit of marijuana and the like in order to relieve the misery of the public policies that, you know, conservatives and right wingers have put into play. that's a cheap shot but i thought i'd take it. the reality --
>> you certainly took it, sir.
>> yes, sir. donald trump is too rich for me to give him any credit. he's got all the credit he needs. but the reality is this. the war on drugs has been deal tierous and destructive for african-american and latino people in this country. what we must do immediately is to figure out way that is are sane and reasonable to address those who are addicted on the one hand so you have to have medical intervention, and on the other hand, you have to have some serious laws geared at breaking down those who truly supplied the drugs and who maintain multibillion dollar bases of drugs in this world. that's what you've got to do.
>> okay. karen , from the war on drugs now to the war on voting rights , we saw an interesting story in the palm beach post . apparently there are now at least some republican officials who are admitting that the state law which led to all those long lines was really intended to drive down the turnout among democrats. i'm not sure we can cope with this new found honesty among republicans, can we?
>> no. i mean, what, are you suggesting they were engaging in voter suppression , martin? is that what you're trying to tell me?
>> it seems that's what the palm beach post has discovered.
>> that's not what it's about. it's all about voter fraud . they were just trying to protect the validity of the election.
>> but there was no voter fraud .
>> i feel this is another statement of the obvious. you don't do the kinds of things we saw not just in flori just happened to be states where we saw the highest amount of growth in african-american and the latino populations, a, and, b, many of the laws and many of the rule changes were very much i think as this piece points out targeted to the kinds of things that they know benefit democratic turnout like early voting , voting on sundays, expanding voting hours. that obviously impacts low income people and black and brown people , democratic voters the most. quickly what i would say is overall i think we need a whole new conversation on protecting our constitutional right to vote. it cannot be about do you have the right i.d. or not. it has to be about how do we make sure -- if we're going to make sure everybody gets to boi a gun, let's make sure everybody gets to vote.
>> ari, to that point the president won florida so what's the problem?
>> that is the way, unfortunately, the way a lot of she's issues play out. throughout american history democracy here has not only been about who to vote for, it's been about who gets to vote. this is an important turning point. i'm a lawyer and i can tell you, three a lot of bad things that are legal. it's bad to lie. it's not illegal. it's bad to commit adultery but it's usually not illegal. it's bad to make it hard to vote, but that is allowed. what is not allowed under the supreme court precedent from 2009 is to make it hard to vote for the purposes of winning an election or discriminating on the basis of race. those are the two big red lines or obvious reasons. so when people say, well, maybe voter fraud is not a big deal and it's going to be a little harder, the supreme court , whether you like it or not, basically said that is allowed. but when you go in and you say this was to help a political party win or worse, as the article that i'm so glad you're highlighting reports, you have republicans basically conceding this was also to disenfranchise people on the basis of their skin color , that's unconstitution even under a conservative precedent in the supreme court .
>> and it's criminal. ari melber, karen finney, and professor michael eric die sorn. stay with us.